- Paperback: 369 pages
- Publisher: Collier Macmillan Publishers (1981)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0029347602
- ISBN-13: 978-0029347607
- Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.2 x 1.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,913,863 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Dearest friend: A life of Abigail Adams Paperback – 1981
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The Boston Globe As lively, sensible, and forthright as the woman about whom it is written...illuminating.
Pauline Maier The New York Times Book Review Dearest Friend -- the Adamses' term for each other -- is most powerfully the history of a marriage, an "Eleanor and Franklin" for the 18th century with one important difference: Their marriage worked.
Kirkus Reviews Withey has not only brought Abigail to life, she has also added new depth and richness to our understanding of the intricate history of feminist thought. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Lynne Withey's books include Voyages of Discovery: Captain James Cook and the Exploration of the Pacific (1987) and Grand Tours and Cook's Tours: A History of Leisure Travel, 1750-1915 (1997). She has taught history at the University of Iowa, Boston University, and the University of California at Berkeley, and is now the associate director of the University of California Press. She lives in San Francisco. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
As a staunch revolutionary, she foresaw the need for independence from England perhaps even before her husband, John. She advocated education and political freedom for women long before it was respectable to do so.
As practical homemaker, she worked the farm, raised the children, and handled the family finances including investments. Abigail liked investing in securities; John preferred land. They made investments in both. Her dependability in these matters secured the home front. This allowed her husband to attend the Continental Congress, sign the Declaration of Independence, serve as minister to France and then England, as well as serve as the first vice president, and then 2nd President of the fledgling USA. Without her shepherding the family finances, either the family would have been ruined; or the United States would have lost one of its great founding fathers.
As a post-revolution political conservative, she hated the republicanism of Jefferson, although she respected him as an honorable man. She foresaw the problems with the French Revolution before Jefferson and his Republican cohorts. She did not understand the criticism of the free press. She strongly advocated the Alien and Sedition Act, passed by congress during her husband’s presidency. It addressed the two of what she thought were the serious threats to the security of the USA… that of foreigners and criticism of the government by the press.
The paradox of Abigail Adams is that she “had always established her identity through her husband’s achievements.” The author tells us that “Probably Abigail would have been astonished to find herself transformed into something of a celebrity one hundred fifty years after her death.” “Yet surely she would have approved of the reasons for her fame: the interest of a later age in the history of family and domestic life, as well as the history of politics, and above all its interest in the emancipation of women and the discovery of women in the past who spoke out on behalf of their sex.”
The beauty of this book is that Lynne Withey presents Abigail Adams as a real human being, not an icon. It is easy to understand why Abigail was John’s Dearest Friend.
I highly recommend this book.
With so many books regarding the Founding Fathers being touted at the bookstores recently, it's wonderful to read the story of one of the Women behind one of the Men. Though not traditionally educated Abigail's knowledge of politics, curiousity about everything, and affection for family and friends is well-documented through excerpts from her numerous letters. The sacrifices both she and her husband made for the fledgling America are a sober reminder of the courage and bravery required of our ancestors.
In a time when woman were subservient to men, she stood head and shoulders above other members of her gender. Her husband wisely depended on her counsel, love and care.
This is a wonderful biography that takes the reader back in time and place so vividly as to feel present at the birth of a nation and a voyeur into the unfolding political career of the second President of the United States and the woman who loved him.
I, too, wish American History had been presented this richly in my grammar and high school years.
After reading this book I would suggest reading "John Adams" by David McCullough, though quite lengthy, it is worthwhile to read the other half of the "conversation".